b'A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWNIt was a career highlight for Wayne and Shop drawings the idea of innovation under the conditionsof the day is something he continues to marvelMike Thompson joined the Dixon & at. We had this cutting-edge technology inHaddon ranks in 1994. He is a mechanical an annexed building quietly doing its thing,engineer and had previously completed an meanwhile in the main building it was dark,apprenticeship as a mechanical engineering dingy, smoky and dirty. It was a real contrast.drafter. The training involved qualifying as It demonstrated what was possible and gave usa fitter turner so he spent time on the shop the appetite to step outside our comfort zone. floor, an experience that has served him well. The ground-breaking project marked theSome of the things I learnt there are still with beginning of Dixon & Haddon truly embracingme today and helped me appreciate the skilltechnology. The machine ran for about fiveof a tradesman. years before other technology caught up toDixon & Haddon had recently established it and it was dismantled. We still own it, wea subsidiary company called DrafTech, a cant bring ourselves to dispose of it. drawing office led by Richard Abercrombie. Richard was originally from the USA and spent his early years in the US Navy. After arriving in New Zealand, he learnt to detail at Brinlow Technical Services. With a talent for maths and a passion for programming, Richard also wrote software for the Beamline machine.DrafTech was a stepping stone to Dixon & Haddon taking complete control of the shop drawing process and Mike Thompson started soon after. Left: An information brochureThe business was highly dependent on thefor the Beamline 600.shop drawing function, which was previouslyRight: When Mike Thompson first started in the drawing office in subcontracted out. They were driven by theirthe 90s, drafting and calculations budgets rather than the quality, says Mikewere done by hand. The process has evolved enormously and Sullivan, so the error rate was always hurting us.computer modelling now affects every area ofthe business.70'